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Keys for Successful GIS Projects. Project Management for GIS Practitioners. Presented by Bruce Oswald, V.P., Public Sector Geospatial Solutions, James W. Sewall Company GITA Annual Conference March 6, 2007. Areas We’ll Cover. Common problem areas and their solutions.

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Keys for Successful GIS Projects

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Keys for Successful GIS Projects

Project Management for GIS Practitioners

Presented by Bruce Oswald,

V.P., Public Sector Geospatial Solutions,

James W. Sewall Company

GITA Annual Conference

March 6, 2007


Areas We’ll Cover

  • Common problem areas and their solutions.

  • Project management basics.

  • Major concepts, tips and tricks.

  • Specific questions on project problems that you may have.


4 Common Problems

  • Project is late.

  • Project is over budget.

  • Project doesn’t fix the problem.

  • Project dies from lack of support.


4 Common Problems

  • Project is late!

    • Why?

      • Under estimated time to complete tasks.

      • Scope additions increased amount of work.

      • Over budget. Need to go back for more funding.

      • People just didn’t deliver on time.


4 Common Problems

  • Project is late!

    • Solutions:

      • Be stringent, but realistic on time frames.

      • Better scope management or change control process.

      • If bad estimate, then next time use historical data, if possible.

      • Establish and manage contingencies properly.

      • Follow up with folks to insure project priorities.

      • Pre-establish work-arounds for high risk areas.


4 Common Problems

  • Project is over budget!

    • Why?

      • Bad estimate.

      • Scope additions increased the amount of work.

      • Lack of competition for bids.

    • Solutions:

      • Use historical data, if possible.

      • Better scope management or change control process.

      • Manage cost contingencies properly.

      • Re-examine your bid advertising and/or contracting methodology.


4 Common Problems

  • Project doesn’t fix the problem!

    • Why?

      • Stakeholders were not properly engaged in the design process.

      • Problem changed.

    • Solutions:

      • Better and more regular communication.

      • Better scope management – insure project delivers what’s in the scope.

      • Follow up with stakeholders to ensure business process hasn’t changed.


4 Common Problems

  • Project dies from lack of support!

    • Why?

      • Priorities change and budgets are cut.

      • Project becomes liability.

        • Over budget. Need to go back for more funding.

      • Project loses its “sex” appeal.

      • Upper management forgets about it!

    • Solutions:

      • Look for new job or adapt project to new priorities.

      • Manage cost contingencies properly.

      • Continually ‘sell’ the project to upper management.

      • “Chunk” project down so it upper management sees regular ‘”deliverables” and can appreciate its progress.


Project Management Basics


What is a Project?

  • A project is a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result.


Project Life Cycle

PM Team

Inputs

Idea

Phases

Initial

Final

Project Management Outputs

Charter

Plan

Delivery

Handover

Baseline

Scope Statement

Testing

Progress


Real Project Life Cycle

Patch up Mistakes Before Exhaustion Hits

Rubber Meets the Road

Epiphany

Real Phases

Herculean Effort

Honeymoon

Phases

Initial

Final

Project Management Outputs

Charter

Plan

Delivery

Handover

Baseline

Scope Statement

Testing

Progress


What is Project Management?

  • Project Management is not:

    • Buying software and creating a schedule!

    • Completing reams of forms or other paperwork!

    • Completing the project, but leaving stacks of bodies!

  • Project Management Institute (PMI) definition

    • Project management is the application of knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to project activities to meet project requirements.

  • Workshop definition

    • Project management is the use of those management principles needed to assure the success of your project (i.e. PM Lite).


www.pmi.org


Main Players in a Project

Project Sponsor

Project Manager

Project Team

Project Stakeholders


PMI Project Knowledge Areas

  • Integration Management

  • Scope Management

  • Time Management

  • Cost Management

  • Quality Management

  • Human Resource Management

  • Communications Management

  • Risk Management

  • Procurement Management


Today’s Areas of Concentration

  • Project Charter.

  • Scope Management.

  • Time Management.

  • Cost Management.

  • Upper Management Support.

  • Risk Management – a simplified approach.

  • Contracts and their use.

  • Leadership


Project Charter


What’s In a Project Charter?

  • Statement of work.

  • Description of project outcomes/ deliverables.

  • Ballpark estimate.

  • Statement of benefits/business need for project.

  • Statement of how project supports the organization’s strategic plan/goals.

  • Risk points.

  • Specific area for management signoff.


What Does a Project Charter Do?

  • Formally authorizes the project.

  • Provides the project manager with the authority to provide organizational resources to the project activities.

  • Insures that project is consistent with the organization’s goals.

  • Ties a management sponsor/upper management to the project.


Cementing the Business Need to the Project


Constantly Re-Align the Project and Business Process

  • Identify the business process that the project is being used for.

  • Meet with stakeholders involved in that business process regularly.

  • As project moves forward, check to determine:

    • Any changes that may have occurred in that process and how they will effect the project.

    • Any changes that may have occurred in the project and whether the project can still meet the needs of the business process it’s being designed for.


Business Process

Tip – Never forget that this is the reason

for the project. Never let the project

team or the stakeholders forget either.


Three Legs of a Project

Time

Cost

Scope


Scope Management


What’s in a Project Scope?

  • Describes what needs to be accomplished by the project.

  • Includes project objectives.

  • Might include project acceptance criteria.

  • Project constraints, major milestones, deliverables

  • Order of magnitude cost statement.

  • Risks, assumptions, etc.


Why It’s Important to Properly Manage the Project Scope

High

Influence of Stakeholders

Cost

Cost of Changes

Low

Time


Scope Management

  • Be Strong, but flexible.

    • Decide up front what you can or cannot change.

    • If necessary, allow some changes early – it will show your flexibility.

    • Alert the team and the stakeholders that changes will have impacts and let them know up front what they are (cost/time).

Tip - Watch out for changes

late in the project…they’re killers.


Rigidity vs. Flexibility

  • Rigidity is easy, but not effective.

  • If you agree to every change, you’re not managing the project.

Tip – Determine up front where

you can be flexible & where you can’t!


Schedule Management


Schedule Management

  • Value of scheduling – it solidifies the plan, it’s another road-map.

  • Critical path, float, resource balancing, etc.

  • Flexibility is a must; don’t record history – use it to anticipate work-arounds.

  • It’s just a tool stupid!


How to Start Making a Schedule!

  • Deliverables

  • Major Tasks

  • Work Breakdown Structure

  • Responsibility Matrix

  • Gant Chart

  • CPM

  • Resource Allocation/Balancing


Deliverables/Milestones

  • “Start backwards and go forwards.”

    • End product.

    • Steps to get there.

      • Products or pieces that may come out of those steps.

        • Develop RFP

        • Advertise

        • Bid

        • Award

        • Perform Work

        • Test

        • Accept


Work Breakdown Structure


Responsibility Matrix

  • Identifies parties responsible for major task areas.

  • Works well when dealing with multiple entities.

  • Might be as simple as listing resources working on project.


Gant Chart


Gant Chart


CPM


Redesigning the Schedule

  • Once the preliminary project schedule is developed. Look at the pattern of deliverables. If need be, redesign the project work flow to have, at least, monthly deliverables. With technology projects, people need to see tangible results.

Tip – If necessary, redesign the project

workflow to insure regular deliverables.


Schedule Management –How to Update It!

  • Don’t just record history.

  • Make it easy for everyone or it won’t get done.

  • Issue updates on a regular basis and date the update.

  • When you issue an update let people know about deliverables achieved, upcoming milestones, and things to watch out for. Make it a ‘value add’ for them. Otherwise, it won’t be read.


Schedule Management –How to Use It!

  • Develop work-arounds for anticipated problems.

  • Anticipate critical areas coming up.

  • Remind resources of upcoming needs.

  • Use it to check to make sure your earlier assumptions are still valid. (Are deliveries of equipment still on time, etc.?)

Tip – Remember – It’s about the

the project – not the schedule.


- Schedule Management –How to Use It!

  • Change Control – use it to show the real impacts of changes on delivery dates, etc.

  • Don’t try to impress the boss with your details. Use them for ‘flash’.

    • Stick to the ‘big picture’.

    • Your success will be in completing the project on time – not in recording history.

Tip – When presenting the schedule, use

the simplest approach/diagram possible.


Cost Management


What is Cost Management?

  • Cost estimating.

    • Developing an approximation of the costs of the resources needed to complete the project activities.

  • Cost budgeting.

    • Aggregating the estimated costs of the individual activities to establish a cost baseline.

  • Cost control.

    • Influencing factors that create cost variances and controlling changes to the project budget.


Cost Management

  • Developing an estimate.

    • Historical data from similar projects?

    • Start with your deliverables, WBS and schedule.

    • Easiest for me to put numbers against the WBS and roll it up to the milestones or the deliverables.

    • Look at contingencies

      • Initially 30+%

      • Final phase 5-10%

      • Guard these with your life!


Cost Management

  • Developing a budget.

    • Envelopes Please!

    • Contingencies – design, market factors, general unknowns, etc.

Equipment


Cost Management

  • Mostly about managing contingencies properly.

  • Change control

    • You need a process that includes some documentation that describes the work and it’s impact and identifies who can approve it.

    • It’s not just the cost of the work, but the potential of lost time and resources.

Tip – Cost Control is mostly about managing

contingencies properly and learning

when to say no!


Risk Assessment


Thinking Ahead - Simple Risk Assessment

  • What is it?

    • Can involve a lot of theory, number crunching and analysis based on historical data, etc.

    • Can be as simple as reviewing project and deciding what your biggest problem areas could be.

  • Why do it? - Part of battle plans

    • I hate surprises.

    • Identifies potential weaknesses.

    • Assists you in making back-up plans ahead of time.

    • Allows you to enlist aid upfront in weak areas.


Risk Analysis

  • Remember to many it might look:

    • Anal and it could hurt your credibility with the project sponsor.

    • Might irritate the boss.

    • Might look like your just trying to cover your butt.

Tip – Be careful if you share

your risk analysis!


Upper Management Support


Upper Management Support

  • What is it?

    • Getting someone at the top to endorse the project and ‘go to bat’ for it.

  • Why is it important?

    • Projects need support for funding and acceptance (also, assistance during rocky times).

  • Do you need it?

    • Almost always!


How Do I Obtain Upper Management Support?

  • Develop Project Charter.

  • Present project at project review board or just make presentation to your upper management.

    • Explain objectives, deliverables, cost, time line.

  • Obtain verbal approval of project and written approval of project charter.

Tip – Remember, your audience always

needs to know, “What’s in it for me?”


Retaining Upper Management Support

  • Provide regular deliverables so they can see progress and “sense” the project’s success!

  • Bi-weekly written reports (one page).

    • Describe deliverables recently completed and due in the next month.

    • Describe overall progress.

    • Indicate where you are within the budget.

    • Describe risks or issues and your plan to solve them. (Don’t make it a ‘cover your butt’ statement.)

    • Indicate specific items upper management needs to act on.

Tip – “What can someone get out of the report

if they can only scan it for 30-60 seconds?”


Retaining Upper Management Support

  • Hold monthly meetings with your sponsor.

    • Use the opportunity to show your effectiveness in anticipating and solving problems.

  • Make them look good!

    • Give upper management the credit.

  • Follow up regularly to insure project is meeting their needs as well as major stakeholders.

Tips 1. Keep the meetings concise – ½ hour.

2. Do not bring problems to the meetings

without practical, implementable solutions.


Contract Administration 101


Contract Administration

  • Types of contracts

    • Fixed price

    • Unit price

    • Cost plus

  • Bottom line – a contract is a tool, not the answer. Pick the right type and use it to your advantage.


Pick the Best Contract Tool to Meet Your Needs.

  • Bottom line – a contract is a tool, not the answer. Pick the right type and use it to your advantage.


Leadership


Leadership

  • The most important skill.

  • Beyond supervising.

  • Learn from others.

  • Real leaders provide the vision and make the job rewarding and fun for everyone.

Tip – Use the power of GIS to keep people’s

focus. Don’t forget to show the team and

the stakeholders what their creating!


Thanks for Listening

R. Bruce Oswald, LA

James W. Sewall Company

(646) 808-4070

bruce.oswald@jws.com


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